Amir Khan appeared to be the leading candidate to take on Floyd Mayweather in his next fight, but that might no longer be the case. The Brit defeated Chris Algieri by unanimous decision on Friday, but he didn’t look like someone that could give the undefeated boxer much of a challenge.
Khan was named the winner on all three judges’ scorecards, but the fight was closer than the decision might indicate. Khan barely edged Algieri in most of the rounds, landing just 19 more total punches. Algieri was the aggressor, throwing 94 more shots than his opponent.
While Khan claimed that he was not overlooking Algieri, Friday was expected to be nothing more than a warm-up for the biggest fight of his career. But Algieri didn’t look like the boxer that was knocked down six times in his November bout with Manny Pacquiao, and he landed clean shots on Khan throughout the fight.
Even Khan seemed unsure when asked in the post-fight press conference if his performance against Algieri warranted a bout with the great boxer in the world.
“Styles make fights and obviously Chris Algieri had a style which was very tough for me to beat,” Khan said. “He was very long, very slick at times. But I’m gonna go back home and watch the video and see exactly how the fight went, and I can answer that.”
Algieri improved his career record to 20-0 when he got a split decision victory over Ruslan Provodnikov last year, but he isn’t one of the top fighters in the welterweight division. Mayweather has already passed on a fight with Khan in the past, and the 28-year-old’s performance on Friday didn’t do anything to help potential pay-per-view buys.
Since Mayweather won unanimously over Pacquiao, it appears clear that there isn’t a welterweight that could give Mayweather much trouble. Khan has said he believes his style would work well against Mayweather, but even his trainer would make the undefeated boxer the heavy favorite.
"I have been honest, when it comes to Floyd Mayweather. He will have to be diligent and fight like a young pup does and fight over his head, like Buster Douglas did against Tyson - you need to take it to another level,” trainer Virgil Hunter said.
A Mayweather-Khan fight might not generate outstanding PPV numbers, but the Brit is still one of the likely opponents for Mayweather’s September fight. There are few potential fighters that Mayweather would realistically take on in what could be the last bout of his career.
The field of possible Mayweather opponents is so weak that two of the boxers with the best chance to fight Mayweather are not welterweights and have already lost to him. Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez are considered two of the best boxers that could be available to fight Mayweather in September, though they could end up fighting each other, instead.
Keith Thurman is undefeated at welterweight, but he hasn’t proven enough to earn a shot at Mayweather. Kell Brook defeated Frankie Gavin on Saturday to keep his IBF welterweight title and he’s yet to lose, but there hasn’t been much noise surrounding a possible Mayweather-Brook fight. Brook said he's ready for a fight with Mayweather, following his most recent win.
Despite Khan’s unimpressive win, he had put together a string of good fights that could eventually get him in the ring with Mayweather. He easily handled Devon Alexander in December, and he was dominant over Luis Collazo in his previous bout.
Mayweather likely has another month to make a decision on his next opponent if he’s going to fight in September.